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Orlando’s blueprint comes straight from San Antonio

Aug 2, 2012, 7:40 AM EDT

Jacque Vaughn, Rob Hennigan AP

One of the questions around the league right now is: “What exactly is Orlando trying to do?”

As they wait out the Dwight Howard trade situation, others wonder whether they want someone like Andrew Bynum to build around, do they just want to dump bad contracts, or would they rather get some young players and picks to rebuild. Nobody knows quite what they want, other than more than they are being offered.

But take a step back and you can see what the new Orlando blueprint is — it’s the same one used in San Antonio. And after that in Oklahoma City. Which explains their hires this summer, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

On June 20, the Magic hired Rob Hennigan as their new general manager. Hennigan started his post-college career as a Spurs intern in 2004 and spent a total of four seasons with the organization, ending his tenure in 2007-08 as the team’s director of basketball operations. From there, Hennigan spent four seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder, whose basketball-operations department is headed by another former Spurs executive, Sam Presti.

On Saturday, the Magic hired Jacque Vaughn as their new coach. Vaughn spent the last three seasons of his playing career in San Antonio and spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach, apprenticing under Gregg Popovich.

That’s a great model to follow.

Both of those franchises have built through smart drafting, and both got a healthy dose of luck (being high in the draft the years they could get Tim Duncan or Kevin Durant). It makes you think that the Hennigan’s long-term plan is to get draft picks and young players. To rebuild following the Spurs model.

But at the heart of both plans is also drafting or bringing in the “right” people, meaning players willing to make sacrifices for the big picture. Players who can put their ego aside. Players who want to be there.

So, not Dwight Howard. But that doesn’t mean they are going to give Howard away. Not until they get what they want. So we wait.

  1. gmsalpha - Aug 2, 2012 at 8:24 AM

    Players who want to be there. Sounds like a team bereft of All-Stars.

    Unfortunately you don’t find a whole lot of Tim Duncans, guys who are not only great teammates, great players, and great people, but also who are very content to play their entire career in a small market with no big-time tv spots or endorsements.

    ≠ Andrew Bynum.

    Good luck in the lottery, Orlando.

  2. vstyle23 - Aug 2, 2012 at 9:20 AM

    It’s obvious the owner is tired of Big Ego guys and Loves the blue print of the non ego teams, OKC and San Antonio. Oh and by the way, they win rings too. I say go for Rick!!!

    • skinsfanwill - Aug 2, 2012 at 1:19 PM

      OKC didn’t win a ring.

  3. luckysunday20 - Aug 2, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    Well if ya wanna be SAS or OKC trade Dwight and get to tanking.

    • skinsfanwill - Aug 2, 2012 at 1:21 PM

      If you want SAS or OKC type of players, trade Dwightmare to OKC or SAS. I’m sure he still has ties there and can work something out.

  4. marksp18 - Aug 2, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    They are really going to need a “suck and luck” strategy to come anywhere close to what Oklahoma was able to do. San Antonio did a lot of their building via smart/lucky drafting as you mentioned. Specifically they picked some foreign players who really worked out well for them in Parker and Manu.

    Orlando is going to have to really do bad next year to even come close to getting a top 3 pick. And if they somehow manage that who is coming out next year that is a Durant or Duncan? As a basketball writer you may have wanted to mention something about that or not.

    So then they need to “suck and luck” for another year too. And then hope someone is really really good.

    That may be a good strategy or may not. Plenty of teams have sucked but have not gotten lucky. Orlando needs to sell seats. They had a hard time getting financing for that new arena which opened in Sept of 2010. They really cannot afford to “suck” for too long. Maybe they can but it probably will end up being another story about a city being on the hook for an arena whilst having a bad team.

    The best player they can get is Andrew Bynum. They know it. You know it. Everyone knows it. When was the last time a team lost the best center in the NBA and could get back the second best center whom many feel is on his way up?

    You trade for Bynum and dump one bad contract and then rebuild.

  5. bucrightoff - Aug 2, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    As has been mentioned, the SA/OKC model can only work if you can get the right superstar in place, one who cares about winning more than being famous. But beyond that the Spurs and Thunder have excelled at finding key pieces in the bottom half of the first round of the draft, and through shrewed trades. Having great coaches also doesn’t hurt either.

  6. merchie89 - Aug 2, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    Here we go another PBT article praising Hennigan for hiring the perfect coach by the perfect GM. These guys all must be best buddies with Orlando management.

    Next Article heading:
    “Hennigan bringing championship to Orlando with Championship mindset brought from SA, while bringing good drafting from OKC”

  7. magicbucs - Aug 2, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    Remember this guys… Harden and ibaka are FA’s after next season. Both scouted and drafted by Hennigan. Orlando will be able to pay them more. 2 young players with plenty of playoff exp already. You add in young talent from say Houston along with future 1st round draft picks…Within 2-3 seasons the magic can be contenders again… As Miami starts to fade…

  8. lakerluver - Aug 2, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    If the Magic think a team is just gonna take all their garbage their plan doesn’t come from the Spurs, it comes from the commode!!

  9. magicbucs - Aug 2, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    @lakerluvr… Hennigan is trying to clean up the garbage Otis smith brought in the last 3 seasons. He can’t do it over night. What do you care anyway. You’re a faker fan. You guys are already set for the next couple seasons. I’d worry more about what OKC, spurs and the west is doing.

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